May 21st, 2008
11:10 AM ET
6 years ago

Lieberman: Obama not willing to 'stand up to the left wing'

 Sen Lieberman has traveled with McCain on the campaign trail.
Sen Lieberman has traveled with McCain on the campaign trail.

(CNN) - Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee, took his criticism of Barack Obama to a new level Wednesday, writing in an op-ed that Republican John McCain’s “political courage” stands in stark contrast to Barack Obama’s – and that his former party had moved “further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.”

"When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves, Lieberman said in the Wall Street Journal piece, adapted from a weekend speech. “By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

“Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign,” said Lieberman, who has endorsed the Arizona senator’s presidential bid.

"In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it. John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies,” wrote the Connecticut senator.

Lieberman added that there were occasions when the tough diplomacy advocated by Obama might be called for, but that he believed the Illinois senator was advocating “a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

"Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot."

Two months ago, Lieberman compared to Democratic icon John F. Kennedy.

“I'm a Democrat who came to the party in the era of President John F. Kennedy,” Lieberman told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week. ”It's a strange turn of the road when I find among the candidates running this year that the one, in my opinion, closest to the Kennedy legacy, the John F. Kennedy legacy, is John S. McCain.”

“…The Democratic Party today was not the party it was in 2000. It's been effectively taken over by a small group on the left of the party that is protectionist, isolationist and basically… very, very hyperpartisan. So it pains me,” he said.

Earlier this month, he told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he didn’t question Obama’s commitment when it comes to the Middle East, but said the Illinois senator's failure to set pre-conditions on the meeting shows inexperience, and “not only gives prestige [to Ahmedinajad], but threatens our allies in the region.”

soundoff (239 Responses)
  1. Barack the Vote in RI

    These two are such a joke. Both ages combined are probably about 257. Who gives s flying *art about what these two fogies think. McSame and his flip flopping while illegally taking his robot looking wife Cindy's private jet on the campaign trail when everybody else PAYS for their transportation.....don't get me started. If these narrow minded fossils actually knew the facts they would keep their traps shut and go play bingo or whatever the elderly do these days......and stay out of politics.

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Creative Woody

    Coming from Lieberman, that's not saying much.

    Any other nation in the world, and Obama is right of center.

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Linned

    Is Lieberman traveling around with Senator McCain now as the rectifier? In case Senator McCain says the wrong thing again so that he can whisper the correct answer in his ear.

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Jim

    Lieberman is 100% correct.

    When the republican party, led by GWB, took this party drastically to the right. WE the party of the people (democratic party) had the opportunity to move a little more to the center and COMPLETELY alienate the republican party and take a SOLID majority.

    So what does our party do?

    After the republicans move far right, we move far left? Just unbelievable.

    LIEBERMAN IS 100% CORRECT, AND I AM ASHAMED OF OUR PARTY!

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. jo

    whoever run againest Mr. Lieberman he will have my 100.00 dollars

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    SLIME & SLEAZY ON THE TOWN.

    THESE TWO LEAVE A TRAIL OF SLEAZE

    LIKE THOSE SNAILS IN THE GARDEN.

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Squid Shark

    David Smith,

    Please give me ONE instance of OBAMA being a "coalition builder"...

    *crickets*

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Hope you print this CNN

    Your reap what you sow Democrats. Really self-serving of the Democratic party to say we'll unite for the good of the party. If you want a United (50) States of America. Dems don't ask what you can do for the party, ask what you can do in Florida and Michigan..........Revote.
    Only 48 state primary will not serve the party or the country. United you will stand>>>>>>>>>>>>.

    May 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Susan S., Wyoming

    Lieberman = traitor

    Thank God we kicked this loser out of the Democratic party!

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. He

    needs to go play in traffic and then hide under a rock.

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. An American in Canada for David

    Obama is not willing to stand up for anything. He will definitely be a weak leader.

    Why doesn't Obama tell the 90% of African-American that vote for him,

    to not be such Racist, and that if they continue to do so, he does not want

    their racist votes...

    Imagine Obama, who prevented Floridians votes to be counted, now has the nerve to go to that state and ask them for a political donation! LOL

    THE ONLY TRUE LEGITIMATE LEADER WILL BE H.R. CLINTON

    AND ALL THE IMPORTANT STATES FOR THE DEMOCRATICS IN

    THE GENERAL ELECTION SUPPORT AND WANT HER TO BE THE

    NEXT PRESIDENT...

    WE SUPPORT H.R. CLINTON, WHO HAPPENS TO BE A DEMOCRAT, IF SHE WERE TO BECOME AN INDEPENDENT, WE HER STAUNCH SUPPORTERS WOULD BACK HER UP, YES RIGHT UP TO THE WHITE HOUSE... 2009-2012

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. TruthSeeker

    Joe Lieberman is quite the character, huh?! Let's be real. He's only there to try to scare more Jewish Americans away from Obama so that McCain can win Florida. It's also pretty apparent that he's bitter that he was defeated in the Senate run-off election in his state and was forced to run as an independent. Let go of your grudge, Joe. Let it go. You'll have peace if you do. Promise.

    By the way, for those mentioning Lieberman as a potential VP for McCain... Doubt it. Two gray-haired men on a ticket?? That's not likely.

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Gary Mitchell

    Joe Leiberman is a senator in search of relevance. Our party disenfranchised him and he became an independant. Much to the chagrin of us all, he won re-election. Joe. No matter how much you kiss McCain's behind you will not be his VP.

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Shirley

    Joe Lieberman is acting like McCain's shadow. Isn't he still a senator? When does he find time to perform actual senatorial work? He's always tagging along after McCain. He must want to be VP really bad. I don't like him.

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Brian

    Lieberman is the biggest flip flopper of all time. I am certain CT will rightly send him on his way next election cycle. He' s in it for himself, not the American people.

    May 21, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Brenda, NC

    I am no longer proud to be a Democrat. I am ashamed of the Democratic Party for disrespecting Senator Clinton. I no longer trust and respect Jimmy Carter or John Edwards for turning their back on Hillary Clinton. John Edwards could have waited until after June 3 to endorse Obama but he had to jump in to try to push Hillary out of the race and that was wrong of him. Hillary is the best qualified presidential nominee. In November, experience will matter to most people; therefore, she should be the nominee to compete with McCain.

    May 21, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. HILLARY HAS THE POPULAR VOTE!!!!!!

    OBAMA KNOWS NOTHING OF THIS PROCESS! HE IS AN ULTRA LIBERAL AND ANTI WAR!!!

    HE WILL NEVER HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE OF HILLARY OR McCAIN!!!!!!

    HILLARY IS SPEAKING IN BOCA RATON AND BOY IS SHE SMART AND CHARISMATIC!

    THIS WOMAN HAS A WONDERFUL PLAN FOR THIS COUNTRY!!!!!!

    SHE WAS A BIG WINNER LAST NIGHT, MUCH LIKE WEST VIRGINIA

    OBAMA WILL NOT WIN THE STATES THAT HILLARY HAS, AND WILL LOSE IN NOVEMBER!!!

    HILLARY SHOULD BE THE NOMINEE!!!!!!!.

    May 21, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. Dee

    Why does he keep talking? Why is McCain dragging him around like his lap dog?

    I don't get it.

    May 21, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. C. Vandenberg, Martha's Vineyard

    Hillary is in Florida making fool of herself on national television. The
    DNC is not going to break the rules that Hillary refused to follow, just
    to help her cheat herself into the nomination. They should put a stop to
    her blasphemy and attempted destruction of the party. I would rather
    have Florida just sit out this election and let Joe Lieberman lecture them
    on the rules of the democratic party. His time would be better served.

    May 21, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. barth

    Mr. Lieberman follows the republican like a dog.im not surprise he is willing to say anything for his master.

    May 21, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Mike from Westchester

    By the way, Joe, it's the neo-con Bush Administration that has gone off the deep end to the right, not the Democrats to the left.

    McCain is already promising to be Bush light, same basic policies with apologies; not realizing that the reason the Bush Administration refuses to apologize for mistakes is that it would take up all their time. Come to think of it, that would leave a lot less time to screw us up and further.

    May 21, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Red, MO

    Barack needs about 63 more superdelegates. That's what I want to talk about–where are they? I can't wait to have the general campaign get started.

    I'm for the only candidate who will fight for the American people and that is Barack Obama.

    May 21, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. sh

    Connecticut voters how could you send a sore loser to the senate. He would like to be on ticket with McCain so he is kissing up to him every possible way. I guess he just want to be McCain's poddle.

    May 21, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Opinions, Opinions, Opinions.... when and where will it end? Everyone has one, but not many are willing to stand up and state for the good of the Country, and for THE AMERICAN PEOPLE this is my decision. It's all about the American People, not about the superdelegates, members of the House or Senate nor is it about the Candidates. This is about us people, dont you get it.
    As a Retired 56 yr old US Army man, my choice as I see it for the good of the Country and for THE AMERICAN PEOPLE is Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton who ever wins the nomination (and I might add I dont like the Clintons that much but they are a far better choice then the Republican John McCain or any other party).

    May 21, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Mary K

    No sooner did Lieberman lose the last election–riding on the support of millions of Democrats and their donations–than he turned his back on the party for his own gains. He is the most self serving man in Washington, and the greatest turn coat. Why should the American people vote for a man who spent eight years crawling into GW's lap?

    May 21, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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